As COVID-19 restrictions ease, people are starting to attend events they may have missed last year. For the 32 million people who attended music festivals in 2019, this means going to shows and concerts again with huge crowds of people. One music festival is making its mark in a unique way: by featuring only female-fronted artists and bands.
This year will mark the fifth ever Loud Women Fest, the largest female-led festival in the United Kingdom. The Loud Women Fest will be held on September 18th at 229 in Central London.
The one-day festival will feature 20 artists who’ll perform across two different stages. Some of the performers include ARXX, Bang Bang Romeo, Lilith Ai, Bugeye, Hagar the Womb and Sister Ghost. The line-up also includes a “secret band” who will perform at the festival.
“The aim of the festival is to show how many incredible female-powered bands are out there – as a counter to every other festival, those that seem to struggle even to book 50 per cent female acts,” said Loud Women Fest founder Cassie Fox to NME.com. While music festivals are spaces dedicated to entertainment and good vibes, it’s necessary to address the sexism that plagues the industry and the long history of gender imbalances regarding artist lineups.
Female-fronted bands and performers are hugely underrepresented in many music festivals. “Men continue to make up the majority of the coveted top headlining slots at festivals and women’s names are scarcely seen in the larger fonts,” according to The Stony Brook Press.
While the United Kingdom may be making strides towards combating sexism in music festivals, the United States has yet to see the same progress. Coachella is one of the most prominent music festivals in America, and in its 20-year history, they’ve only showcased four female headliners ever.
In 2016, The Huffington Post found that women artists only made up 12 percent of all acts at 10 major music festivals in the United States, including Firefly, Electric Zoo, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball. The music industry in general has a long history of underrepresentation; a study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative showed that female artists were responsible for only 22.4 percent of the United States’ top 600 songs between 2012 and 2017.
While London’s Loud Women Fest aims to create an empowering and inclusive space for female performers, it’s important to understand that this event was created out of necessity. Fundamentally, LWF is a response to all music festivals that fail to include and showcase women artists: We will not be silenced.
Photo by Hanny Naibaho via Unsplash.